Five centuries of Arenbergs
The Arenbergs: a famous noble family. During the autumn of 2018, for a period of three months, Leuven became royal. The influential and versatile nature of this remarkable family formed the common thread during the ambitious Arenberg Festival. The most extraordinary stories related to this illustrious family came to life during the event.
The nobility has the reputation of being slightly guarded. The Arenberg Festival aimed to change this sense. Leuven highlighted several aspects of this noble family. For more than five centuries, this household has played a pivotal role on the political, military, economic, and cultural stage of Leuven and Belgium, and further afield in Europe.
A programme with a noble look
The purpose of the city festival was to highlight the rich history of the Arenberg Family from several angles. Through various events the visitor got an insight into the family’s interest in art, culture, science, and nature management. Their political and economic impact was explored, as was their cosmopolitan lifestyle.
The launch of the city festival was celebrated with a grand opening weekend in and around the Arenberg Castle. The weekend was filled with a vibrant mix of technology, entertainment, culture, culinary discovery, and lots of do-it-yourself activities for all ages. One of the most impressive moments of the weekend was a video mapping on the façade of the castle by video artist Nele Fack.
235 works of art from the Arenberg Collection
The number one attraction of the Arenberg Festival was the exhibition in M-Museum Leuven. On this one occasion, ‘Power and Beauty. The Arenbergs’, brought together many top pieces from the former Arenberg collection. Works by Rubens, Jordaens, Dürer, and Breughel once adorned the rooms of the noble Arenberg living quarters. The once complete art collection accumulated by the Arenbergs was one of the top collections at its height.
A few old theater costumes from the Arenberg Collection were restored specifically for this exhibition. A selection of the most beautiful costumes was selected and set on a glamorous catwalk.
The better work in the wonderful world of exhibitions
A Formula for Succes
The city-wide cultural festivals organized by KU[N]ST Leuven are enjoyed by members of the general public. The Arenberg Festival attracted some 70,280 visitors. A total of 45,641 people attended the exhibition in Museum M. The opening weekend was also a success with around 10,000 people from Leuven visiting.